Friday, June 22, 2018

"So in Love" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Song#:  2442
Date:  08/31/1985
Debut:  86
Peak:  26
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Synthpop

Pop Bits:  Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys were schoolmates that either formed or were a part of several bands throughout the late 70s. Their music would often be experimental and electronic with their biggest influence being German electro pioneers Kraftwerk. By 1978, the pair had officially become Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and began to do performances with a little 4-track tape deck providing their backup music. Buzz about the band grew and by 1980 they were signed to the Virgin off-shoot label Dindisc. Their self-titled debut featured the UK hit "Messages" (#13 UK, #67 US Dance). Five Top 10's would follow over the course of four albums. Yet despite their success in the UK, they had yet to break through in the US. By the time their sixth album, Crush arrived, the band had expanded to six members and their sound had become more commercial and less experimental. This helped to attract an audience Stateside and this lead-off single from the album became their first Pop chart entry. It broke into the Top 30 while getting to #16 at Dance. The hit helped the album sell well and reach #38.

ReduxReview:  Prior to this, OMD had shaded some of their tunes with a bit of pop, but it really wasn't enough for the US market. It wasn't until they hooked up with producer Stephen Hague for Crush that they truly refined their sound and made something that was ready for US radio. Hague gave their synthpop a denser feel and this opening track was nothing like they had recorded before. It was beautifully produced and it had a solid, hooky chorus that could reel in listeners. The tinny blips and bleeps of their early experimental tracks were gone and replaced with a more mature pop sound that served the band well.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  OMD's first Top 10 in the UK was the track "Enola Gay," which was from their second album Organisation. Although it didn't make the US Pop chart, it did get to #34 on the Dance chart. Both McCluskey and Humphreys were fascinated with World War II planes and when lyrics were needed for a song they were working on, McCluskey settled on doing a song about one of the most famous planes in history. The WWII B-29 bomber named Enola Gay was the one that dropped the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima in Japan on August 6, 1945. The bomb killed over 100,000 people and helped to bring an end to the war with Japan. The plane was named after its pilot Paul Tibbet's mother. OMD's lyrics include references to this and to the bombing. In general, it is seen as an anti-war song even though songwriter McCluskey didn't necessarily mean for it to be.


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